Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said at a town hall meeting that President Obama is “getting perilously close” to the constitutional standard for impeachment.
Though Coburn never gave any indication what an impeachment would be based on, he said the Obama administration was “lawless” and incompetent—and then added that the president is a “personal friend” of his.
According to a report by the Tulsa World, Coburn said impeachment is “not something you take lightly, and you have to use a historical precedent of what that means.”
“I think there’s some intended violation of the law in this administration, but I also think there’s a ton of incompetence, of people who are making decisions,” Coburn said. “Those are serious things, but we’re in a serious time. I don’t have the legal background to know if that rises to high crimes and misdemeanor, but I think they’re getting perilously close.”
Coburn is one of several Republicans in recent weeks to bring up the word “impeachment” in reference to Obama.
These wacky ideas take hold in the Republican echo chamber of right-wing blogs and radio shows and they get repeated so many times that some conservatives begin to think they’re real, though they have no basis in fact or reality.
By law the charge to impeach would have to be brought by the House of Representatives, where last week Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) announced that there were enough votes to make it happen. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.) recently said, “it would be a dream come true” to impeach Obama.
Coburn’s comments came after an attendee called the Obama administration “lawless” and asked, “who is responsible for enforcing [Obama’s] constitutional responsibilities?”
“What you have to do is you have to establish the criteria that would qualify for proceedings against the president. And that’s called impeachment,” Coburn responded, as some in the audience applauded, according to the Tulsa World.
“I’m documenting all this stuff as it goes along, but I don’t know where that level is,” he added.
While it was unclear what grounds Republicans might have to bring charges of impeachment, Coburn made a vague reference to Department of Homeland Security officials telling U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees to “ignore” background checks for immigrants.